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‘Hug the Monster’ for Realistic Hope in Global Warming (or How to Transform Your Fearful Inner Climate)
Bill Blakemore, ABC News

“Hug the monster” is a metaphor taught by U.S. Air Force trainers to those headed into harm’s way.

The monster is your fear in a sudden crisis — as when you find yourself trapped in a downed plane or a burning house.

If you freeze or panic — if you go into merely reactive “brainlock” — you’re lost.

But if your mind has been prepared in advance to recognize the psychological grip of fear, focus on it, and then transform its intense energy into action — sometimes even by changing it into anger — and by also engaging the thinking part of your brain to work the problem, your chances of survival go way up.

[...]

Established scientists, community and government leaders and journalists, as they describe the disruptions, suffering and destruction that manmade global warming is already producing, with far worse in the offing if humanity doesn’t somehow control it, are starting to allow themselves publicly to use terms like “calamity,” “catastrophe”, and “risk to the collective civilization.”

[...]

Careful not to prompt destructive panic, nor to lose credibility, responsible experts have been careful to temper their public depictions of what the world’s climate science has been revealing about the worst effects — if humanity does not handle the problem immediately — of the rapid climatic and oceanic changes already under way.

[...]

“For survival then, here’s the bottom line. If you’re scared out of your mind, try to remember this Air Force mantra: Hug The monster. Wrap your arms around fear, wrestle it under control, and turn it into a driving force in your plan of attack. ‘Survival is not about bravery and heroics,’ award-winning journalist Laurence Gonzales writes in his superb book Deep Survival. ‘Survivors aren’t fearless. They use fear: They turn it into anger and focus.’ The good news is that you can learn to subdue the monster and extinguish some of the clanging bells. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Indeed, with enough hugs, you can even tame the beast and turn him into your best friend and most dependable ally.” [excerpted from Ben Sherwood's book _The Survivor’s Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life_]

As a growing number of professional journalists around the world are finding, the story of manmade global warming (and the other evil twin of excess carbon emissions, the rapid acidification of the oceans) is unprecedented in its scale, almost “too big to cover,” and frightening.

But there are now signs that, little by little, voices and personalities are beginning to emerge around the world who are starting to hug this monster, manage the fear, and turning the emotions it causes into action.

See also:

- Think Progress [http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/07/478984/hug-the-monster-why-so-many-climate-scientists-have-stopped-downplaying-the-climate-threat/?mobile=nc]
- John Protevi [http://www.newappsblog.com/2012/05/social-cognition-and-controlling-panic.html]
- +Timothy Morton [http://ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com/2012/05/in-dialogue-with-john-protevi.html]
- JMG on Y2K from The Long Descent:

Some pundits have used these failed predictions to argue that the whole Y2K crisis wasn't real in the first place, but this misstates the whole lesson of the experience. The threate was real; believers in apocalypse simply missed the four most important words in the prediction — "unless something was done." Faced with a credible threat, a hard deadline, and a clear course of action, people responded predictably by doing something about the situation. [...] The fallacy that bedeviled the Y2K survivalists was the belief that government, business, and citizens, faced with an imminent threat and presented with a clear, constructive response to it, would sit on their hands and do nothing until catastrophe overwhelmed them. This same odd belief can be found throughout current discussions about peak oil. (and global warming) [https://plus.google.com/102162793011751589081/posts/cezWa65q6HT]
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